In February, I was quite busy with several demanding projects. Some of them kept me occupied at the computer, others at the sewing machine, preparing for our guild’s imminent quilt show. What I needed was some hand stitching to soothe my rattled nerves.
I had these vines already cut from an assortment of fabrics, having planned to use them as a border on another quilt. Once they were vetoed for that project, I saved them thinking I would just use them alone on a solid background. I do love needleturn appliqué and find the process restful to my brain.
I found three colors I liked, chose a solid fabric for the background, and stitched them over a few evenings in front of the television. Recently, I layered the top with Dream Wool batting and a piece of hand-dyed fabric from Wendy Richardson as the back. I outlined the appliqué and stitched several rows of echo quilting using a variegated thread. The various edge designs; pebbles, straight lines, and continuous curves were stitched using a neutral color thread of the same weight.
All quilting was hand guided, free motion stitching on my domestic machine.
This whole project was based on revisiting something I had liked from an earlier quilt. Four Little Pitchers was my entry in our guild’s annual challenge in 2009. The challenge was to make a four-block quilt. I drew the shapes of the pitchers based on some pieces from my pottery collection, used needleturn appliqué to stitch them to the black background, and separated the four blocks with a tiny (1/4”), subtle sashing of black with silver dots. Then I appliquéd the vine using the pattern from Emily Senuta’s basket book, and continued the design with the quilting motif. In that case, I continued the vine in green, then echoed all with a black thread.
The sashing turned out to be so tiny and so subtle that it became invisible, but I always liked the result of the vine motif and wanted to work with that design again. Especially after I began using wool batting, I wanted to use it to give extra dimension to the leaves in the quilted vines. The vine in the latest project is twice the size of the original pattern.
I still have more of the larger vines cut, so I would like to explore even more possibilities with this simple, elegant shape.
Details of quilts: Four Little Pitchers measures 38” x 43”. Fabrics for pitchers is all hand-dyed Cherrywood fabric, vines are Fossill Fern fabrics. Batting is Dream Cotton request. All threads are DMC Broder machine embroidery thread; 50 weight / 2 ply cotton.
Wandering Vines measures 21” x 28”. Appliqué fabrics are all commercial quilting cottons, the background fabric is hand-dyed Cherrywood cotton. Threads are DMC Broder embroidery thread; 50 weight / 2 ply cotton.